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George Box, quality, and improving almost anything



The quality movement of the 1980s and 1990s was as if custom-made for George Box. The notion of improvement is statistical at its heart, and the quality imperative brought new energy to a confluence of fields pioneered by him, including industrial experimental design, time series analysis, and robustness. With a focus on quality since the mid-1980s, Box authored over 100 additional publications of unfailing inventiveness, including a Brumbaugh Award winner when he was 90. He delighted in how the simplest statistical tools of the quality movement democratized the scientific method and shared his insights in popular forums with wit and grace. In this brief reflection, we offer a snapshot of that very rich era. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.